If you missed Part One (touristy stuff and pubs) you can find it here.
After a good night’s sleep (guaranteed) we headed out into Norwich on Monday (matchday) morning. Our walk took us past some virtual reality escape rooms which we’d have liked to have tried. But we had plans for today.
This place had come recommended by Dave for breakfast. I’d scouted the menu online and been impressed – I wanted everything on it!
On arrival there was a lengthy queue outside. Blimey – that is a sign of a good caff! I’ve not queued outside a caff since Betty’s in York ten years ago. Ahead of us in the queue was a Norwich fan who recognised Lee from his YouTube channel.
He tried to explain to his little girl where Blackpool was.
‘Do you remember when we went all the way to Wigan?’
The girl pulled a face.
‘Well it’s even further away than that. She didn’t enjoy going to Wigan.’
‘Blimey she wants to think herself lucky it wasn’t Springfield Park…’
After maybe ten minutes we were seated at a table inside the caff and contemplating the menu (I still couldn’t decide). We began with a drinks order.
Eventually I said I was ready to order even though I wasn’t really as I needed to be put under pressure to avoid procrastinating all morning. This is what I had.
Well well well. I do believe Nibble has a serious challenger here for Top Caff. Although there’s no way I’m factoring in a trip to Norwich every year just to eat here. But this is definitely a Must Visit on any visit to Norwich.
Now it was time to head to the pub to meet our fellow Seasiders.
Back here again! Today we headed through to the back room with the full intention of playing bar billiards.
The gang soon arrived and we got too busy nattering to get to the bar billiards but that was just fine as the company was good. As usual, there wasn’t much chat about the football as we each put forward our scariest movies of all time. I put forward a book called The Silence by Tim Lebbon which technically did become a movie but the book was better and a damn sight more terrifying.
The local Norwich fans even engaged us in conversation. This was a lovely friendly pub.
The poor barman was rushed off his feet serving everyone on his own and changing barrels and everything. I was exhausted just watching him. He did a great job.
Some ordered taxis to the ground but we decided to walk. Even though it was half an hour away, if we walked we knew we’d get there on time, leaving at 2pm, whereas waiting for a taxi is a risky business.
We were so glad we decided to walk as we enjoyed a number of delights on the way that we’d have missed in a taxi.
Norwich City v Blackpool
A Lollipop Man keeping us safe and helping us cross the road! What a lovely touch. This wouldn’t happen in Rotherham.
First stop on arriving at the ground after three pints and a 30 minute walk was of course the Ladies.
Next a bottle of water (lid left on, naturellement, as this was a lovely club). Now to seek out Peter, who I’d missed out on chatting to in the pub.
All of a sudden a man popped up right in front of me. Hmm did I know that face? I considered it for a moment, clearly looking puzzled.
‘Oh don’t do this to me again…’
Ah! That must be Neil (Sonny Carey’s dad), who I notoriously never ever recognise (although the Norfolk accent does help). We chatted for ages and about every 30 seconds he’d point out another member of his family who was passing (‘that’s Sonny’s sister…and that’s his other sister…and that’s his girlfriend’s family…’). We chatted about the Blackpool manager’s job and I said I wanted Stephen Dobbie (caretaker manager and Blackpool hotshot legend).
Now it was time to head to the stand. I took a seat at the side towards the front where I could remain seated and watch the match. Ooh what’s that smell? It’s not me, is it?
Hmm is that dog wee? There’s a definite wet dog smell round here. Well I wasn’t for moving so I’d just have to put up with it.
At half time I revisited the Ladies (bonus bidet as the water was flowing in the toilet) before setting back off in search of Peter, who I still hadn’t caught up with. Now Lee grabbed me to do the half time summary for the match vlog and then I got chatting to Ashleigh and then it was time to head back to the stand.
I spied an unusual perimeter advert for Warpaint: Make Up For Men. Here’s the deets if you’re interested. I know from Kitman Dave at Chase that men like their make up as he was forever trying to get it out of the kit.
Anyway the match was enjoyable and we played well, looked strong on the attack and won. It was nice to watch a match with no pressure as we’d already been relegated the week before. Perhaps the players enjoyed playing with no pressure too. It was also lovely to see Rob Apter get some minutes – my favourite from the development squad.
Here’s Lee’s match vlog:
After the match we were outside the ground for ages saying our goodbyes to our fellow Seasiders for the summer. It was nice not to want to be out of there and as far away as possible as soon as possible. I haven’t even been able to bear being in sight of Bloomfield Road in weeks. But today was nice.
After grabbing some food for the journey from a local supermarket, we were on our way home around 1830.
We passed more made up places like Clenchwarton and did a double take at what appeared to be a provocative hitcher.
I took a look at the league tables, curious as to where we’d be heading next season in League One. Well there were some good trips really. We’d have weekends in Portsmouth and Exeter (and Lincoln again, obvs). Cheltenham and Shrewsbury are brilliant awaydays. Fleetwood didn’t count, obvs. It was an anomaly that they were in the EFL at all. And as for Stevenage?
‘Well Stevenage can fuck off.’
‘Surely it can’t be that bad?’ pleaded Lee, who’s never been.
I did a bit of research to prove my point and resolved there was no way a Football Tourist’s Guide to Stevenage could possibly be a thing because there was nothing there. But Lee was insistent.
‘But you like a challenge. Didn’t you say that about Luton?’
I cast the net a little wider and – do you know what? – it’s actually doable. Perhaps that could be the best trip of next season? Challenge accepted!
Music-wise, I just put Apple Music on random shuffle. About halfway home, Lee said he wondered when we were going to get The Wombles, because they always pop up to make us smile.
We arrived home tired but happy after our week’s adventure at 2330. And relax…right? Wrong! As soon as tomorrow we’d be heading off on the most exciting adventure of them all: my first Eurovision! Watch this space to find out how we got on…
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Next Up: Eurovision.